SUMMARY REPORT FROM THE ITALIAN-SPEAKING COUNTRIES
The Regional Blending Trips
The saints on the blending trip to the southern part of Italy had a glorious time visiting the saints in the cities of Rome and Naples before arriving at the Florence area. The visiting saints included 49 saints from Canada, China, Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Our first gathering for prayer and coordination was on Monday morning, October 9, in the meeting hall of the church in Rome, which had just been completed a few days before we arrived! We were all very impressed with the quality of the meeting hall and its strategic location, only a short walk to Sapienza University of Rome and the Metro. After coordination, we went out in five groups to distribute tracts and pass out Bibles. Seeing the multitude of Italian young people on the most populous university in Europe filled us with an overwhelming burden for these young Italians. On Monday evening we had a love feast with the saints in the meeting hall. Our Tuesday schedule was a Divine History in the Human History tour of key historical sites in Rome. On Wednesday we visited the saints in Naples who hosted a mini conference inviting others to hear about the ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. We had a marvelous meeting and several new ones came for the first time. On Thursday, our group took our bus to Florence, where we met up with the saints on the blending trip to the northern part of Italy.
The blending trip to the northern part of Italy went out to Milan and Turin. It was impressive how warm the young Italian students are. Many of them received the Recovery Version of the New Testament and were attracted by hearing the truth. Following this trip, the local saints have been emboldened to go out on the gospel more often and are continuing to meet with two young men they met during this time. The trip also passed through Lugano, where two sisters were touched to get baptized when some saints returned to visit after the trip; Padova, where there was a strong response and we handed out all the Bibles in a very short time; and Florence, where we had a gospel time and a blending conference for all of Italy.
The Regional Blending Conference
On October 14th and 15th a conference for Italy was held in Montecatini, a town near Florence. Prior to this, two blending trips were held in Italy, one based out of Rome and the other based out of Milan. Approximately 50 saints participated in each blending trip. We all came together in Montecatini on Friday, October 13th.
Starting Saturday morning, we held four conference meetings, three on Saturday and one on the Lord’s Day. The meetings were a re-speaking of the ITERO fellowship, entitled “The Recovery of the Church.” The four messages that we shared were Message 2, “The Original Condition of the Church, the Degradation of the Church, and the Recovery of the Church,” Message 5 entitled
“The Recovery of the Church Life,” Message 6 entitled “Jehovah’s Commanded Blessing of Life on Brothers Who Dwell Together in Oneness,” and Message 9 entitled “The Status of the Church—the Counterpart of Christ.”
The conference was attended by saints throughout Italy. Together with the approximate 100 saints who participated in the two blending trips, the estimated total attendance at the conference was around 300, including young people and children. Many came from Milan, Rome, Vicenza, Turin, and Naples, which are the major population centers. Also, some came from Prato and Fucecchio, both near the city of Florence. In total, 19 cities from Italy were represented with approximately 200 saints who live in Italy, including children. Of particular note was the encouraging attendance of the saints from Naples who joyfully participated in every meeting. From Naples about 10 from a new group of Italians that has recently touched the recovery with a number of their own contacts from the Tuscan area came to join us in the conference. Their enthusiasm, strong speaking, and participation brought the conference to a higher level so that all of us rejoiced to see what the Lord can do and wishes to do here in Italy.
The feeling is that this conference was a high water mark for the Lord’s move in Italy. Based on such a rich blending and enjoyment, we feel the Lord can continue to add to the churches and build up His testimony here. During the conference, a new hymnal of 103 hymns in the Italian language was released. Outlines were prepared for the messages in Italian and one of the messages was released in Italian. The saints were stirred in their spirits and look forward to further blending among the churches in Italy.